The Tagum Agricultural Development Company was poised to file appropriate charges against a Department of Public Works and Highways inventory team that destroyed a steel swing beam along one of its farm roads on March 5.
The beam served as part of an elborate quarantine system installed by Tadeco that successfully warded off the threat of fusarium wilt, a dreaded soil fungi that has wrought havoc to banana plantations in the region.
“It was a clear display of arrogance, abuse of authority and disregard for the rule of law,” Anthony Alexander Valoria, TADECO president, told the AFP-PNP press forum at the Royal Mandaya Hotel on Wednesday.
TADECO legal officer Nicholas Banga said cases of malicious mischief as well as graft were being readied against the team that included Edwin Jubahib of the congressional district office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Valoria said that the team, led by DPWH district engineer Noel C. Basanaes, was ordered by the House’ committee on good government and public accountancy to conduct an inventory of public roads and infrastructure projects from DAPECOL to the different municipalities in Davao del Norte.
“But instead of inspection and inventory, the team forcibly removed the steel swing beam of TADECO’s quarantine facility, resulting to damage in property,” he said.
He clarified that the Tanglaw road has always been open for public use. “The steel swing beam is part of a quarantine process installed by Tadeco to insure bio-security against the threat of Fusarium wilt,” he said.
The quarantine measures were mandated by the Bureau of Plant Industry as well as a provincial ordinance to prevent the spread of fusarium wilt.
Industry sources conceded that TADECO was the only banana plantation in the region that has been able to successfully thwart the threat of fusarium wilt.
The TADECO official said the incident is part of a grand design to harass and to put into bad light the company.
Earlier in a letter to PNP regional director Manuel R. Gaerlan, Valoria clarified that there are no public roads within the area covered by joint agreement between the Bureau of Corrections and TADECO.
“All the roads inside the JVA area are all farm roads constructed by TADECO as necessary infrastructure in banana access,” he said. “Despite this, the public has always been allowed access.”
On the presence of security guards, he said these were deployed for security purposes and to ensure that rules on biosecurity are duly complied with to prevent the spread of the diseases.
“This benefit all farms not just TADECO,” he said. “Notwithstanding, the public is still allowed access on these roads.”
He said that the order of the House Committee directing the PNP to remove the barriers is not only irregular but also highly questionable.
He suggested that the DAPECOL should likewise be notified and consulted to provide clarifications on the issue.